Neural correlates of emotion regulation deficits in remitted depression: the influence of regulation strategy, habitual regulation use, and emotional valence.

Section for Experimental Psychopathology and Neuroimaging, Department of General Psychiatry, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, Heidelberg University, Germany.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.13). 07/2012; 61(3):686-93. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.03.089
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Regulating emotions through reappraisal has been shown to elicit abnormal neural activation patterns in currently depressed patients. It is, however, unclear if this deficit generalizes to other emotion regulation strategies, if it persists when patients recover, and if it is related to habitual use of reappraisal strategies. Therefore, we measured the neural responses to emotional images with functional magnetic resonance imaging in remitted patients with previous episodes of major depression and healthy controls. While viewing the images participants regulated the elicited emotions using either a reappraisal or a distraction strategy. Habitual reappraisal use was measured with the Cognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire. Depressed patients showed a selective deficit in down-regulating amygdala responses to negative emotional stimuli using reappraisal. This down-regulation of amygdala activity was strongest in participants high in habitual reappraisal use. Activity in the regulating control-network including anterior cingulate and lateral orbitofrontal cortex was increased during both emotion regulation strategies. The findings in remitted patients with previous episodes of major depression suggest that altered emotion regulation is a trait-marker for depression. This interpretation is supported by the relation of habitual reappraisal use to amygdala down-regulation success.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Deficient emotion regulation has been proposed as a crucial pathological mechanism in bipolar disorder (BD). We therefore investigated emotion regulation impairments in BD, the related neural underpinnings and their etiological relevance for the disorder. Twenty-two euthymic patients with bipolar-I disorder and 17 unaffected first-degree relatives of BD-I patients, as well as two groups of healthy gender-, age- and education-matched controls (N=22/17, respectively) were included. Participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while applying two different emotion regulation techniques, reappraisal and distraction, when presented with emotional images. BD patients and relatives showed impaired downregulation of amygdala activity during reappraisal, but not during distraction, when compared with controls. This deficit was correlated with the habitual use of reappraisal. The negative connectivity of amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) observed during reappraisal in controls was reversed in BD patients and relatives. There were no significant differences between BD patients and relatives. As being observed in BD patients and unaffected relatives, deficits in emotion regulation through reappraisal may represent heritable neurobiological abnormalities underlying BD. The neural mechanisms include impaired control of amygdala reactivity to emotional stimuli and dysfunctional connectivity of the amygdala to regulatory control regions in the OFC. These are, thus, important aspects of the neurobiological basis of increased vulnerability for BD.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Emotion regulation is a major prerequisite for adaptive behavior. The capacity to regulate emotions is particularly important during and after the encounter of a stressor. However, the impact of acute stress and its associated neuroendocrine alterations on emotion regulation have received little attention so far. This study aimed to explore how stress-induced cortisol increases affect three different emotion regulation strategies. Seventy two healthy men and women were either exposed to a stressor or a control condition. Subsequently participants viewed positive and negative images and were asked to up- or down-regulate their emotional responses or simultaneously required to solve an arithmetic task (distraction). The factors stress, sex, and strategy were operationalized as between group factors (n = 6 per cell). Stress caused an increase in blood pressure and higher subjective stress ratings. An increase in cortisol was observed in male participants only. In contrast to controls, stressed participants were less effective in distracting themselves from the emotional pictures. The results further suggest that in women stress enhances the ability to decrease negative emotions. These findings characterize the impact of stress and sex on emotion regulation and provide initial evidence that these factors may interact.
    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 11/2014; 8(379). DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00397 · 4.16 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recent studies have indicated the potential clinical use of near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) as a tool in assisting the diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD); however, it is still unclear whether NIRS signal changes during cognitive task are state- or trait-dependent, and whether NIRS could be a neural predictor of treatment response. Therefore, we conducted a longitudinal study to explore frontal haemodynamic changes following antidepressant treatment in medication-naïve MDD using 52-channel NIRS. This study included 25 medication-naïve individuals with MDD and 62 healthy controls (HC). We performed NIRS scans before and after antidepressant treatment and measured changes of [oxy-Hb] activation during a verbal fluency task (VFT) following treatment. Individuals with MDD showed significantly decreased [oxy-Hb] values during a VFT compared with HC in the bilateral frontal and temporal cortices at baseline. There were no [oxy-Hb] changes between pre- and post-antidepressant treatment time points in the MDD cohort despite significant improvement in depressive symptoms. There was a significant association between mean [oxy-Hb] values during a VFT at baseline and improvement in depressive symptoms following treatment in the bilateral inferior frontal and middle temporal gyri in MDD. These findings suggest that hypofrontality response to a VFT may represent a potential trait marker for depression rather than a state marker. Moreover, the correlation analysis indicates that the NIRS signals before the initiation of treatment may be a biological marker to predict patient's clinical response to antidepressant treatment. The present study provides further evidence to support a potential application of NIRS for the diagnosis and treatment of depression.
    PLoS ONE 01/2015; 10(3):e0120828. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0120828 · 3.53 Impact Factor


Available from
Jun 4, 2014